Musings on Hybrid Cloud

I work on the lowest levels of container runtimes and usually around process security.  My team and I work on basically everything needed run containers on the host operating system under Kubernetes.  I also work in the OpenShift group at Red Hat.

I hear a lot of thoughts on Hybrid Cloud and how the goal of OpenShift is to bridge the gap between on-prem data center services and virtualization with cloud services.  Usually these services are provided by the big three clouds.  Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google GCE.  Maybe I should add Alibaba to this list. 

It is really cool that OpenShift and Kubernetes have the ability to move workloads from your in-house data centers to different clouds.  Imagine you have VMWare, OpenStack or RHEV virtualization Kubernetes nodes running along with nodes running in the cloud services, all powered by OpenShift/Kubernetes. 

OpenShift/Kubernetes can scale up off of your in-house data centers to the cloud, basically renting capacity when demand skyrockets but then drops back when demand slackens, saving you the rent check.  

I envision a world where you could get deals off of Microsoft Azure to save .05 cents per hour on your rent.  You press a button on OpenShift which moves  hundreds/thousands of nodes off of AWS and onto Azure.  (Of course to make this work customers need to make sure they don’t get tied into services on any of the big cloud vendors)

Big Cloud Vendors == Walmart/Amazon Retail Business

I have been thinking of another use case, and I like the analogy of what Walmart and Amazon did to the retail business in the world.  Over the last 20/30 years we have seen the retail world destroyed by these two behemoths.  Malls all over the US and probably all over the world are crumbling, but one type of retail has survived and I might say thrived, and this is specialty stores.  I should know because my wife drags me to them all the time. 

But Dan what does this have to do with Cloud?

Well I look at the big cloud vendors like AWS, Azure and GCE, as the "Walmarts" of the retail business. But when I look around and I am seeing some specialty clouds showing up. Here are three examples.

  • Red Hat has been working recently with NVidia on their cloud services. What would happen if NVidia started providing their latest and greatest GPU’s in their cloud before they were available for retail sale? Would early adopters be willing to rent these services for a while?  I could see people wanting to run certain workloads in NVidia Cloud to get access to these super fast GPUs.
  • IBM Cloud could start to offer services on their high powered main frames, Z Series?  Perhaps access to quantum computing services. Maybe Knative support for Watson?
  • Oracle Cloud can probably do a better job of handling databases on demand than anyone else.  Imagine Cloud services with Database on demand.

Who knows, maybe Walmart will start offering cloud services…

Could we see in the future when customers want to run their application front ends on the “Walmart” clouds but run their back end services on some of the specialty clouds?

Some of these specialty clouds could grow rather large as well, similar to say how Lowes, Home Depot and Best Buy have been able to stay alive, and even thrive by concentrating on specialty services which the Walmarts/Amazon retail business have difficulty competing.

Conclusion

I believe working with a Hybrid/Cross cloud tools like OpenShift gives customers the best tools to prevent lock-in to any of the big cloud vendors.  OpenShift will allow users to move workloads between the big cloud vendors, their private data centers and the specialty clouds.  The best of local retail along with the commodity retail.  Run your application where it makes sense and protect it against vendor lock-in.

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